Sink the sewer proposal

04/22/2010 12:00 AM |

If Trustee Mary Bess Phillips gets her way, a controversial proposal that would affect sewer rates will be pulled from the table Monday night, April 26, and sent back to the drawing board.

In February, the plan drafted by village attorney Joseph Prokop was the subject of heated debate as condominium owners complained that they would be adversely affected by the new proposal. They argued that they had complied with village instructions to install multiple meters for the entire complexes and would, under the revised plan, have to pay for metering every unit.

New village homeowners would also have had to pay hookup fees under the proposal. Greenport residents have never had to pay hookup fees and the proposal lacked a grandfather clause that might have exempted existing structures from the new regulations.

At a second hearing in March, reception for the proposal didn’t get any better. There were suggestions that if the village imposed the new fees, there would be lawsuits.

There have been no more hearings but there hasn’t been any revision of Mr. Prokop’s original proposal.

At Monday’s work session this week, Ms. Phillips said she will introduce a resolution this coming Monday to can the original proposal and appoint a committee — Mr. Prokop, village administrator David Abatelli and utilities director Jack Naylor — to draft a new one, which the village board will review before it goes to residents at a public hearing. Ms. Phillips wants to see a new draft by July.


If the Village Board agrees Monday night to schedule a public hearing, residents may soon get to weigh in on the proposed Bay to Sound Trails project.

It was about two years ago that Trustee Michael Osinski suggested the project, which would involve running a trail from Mitchell Park through Moore’s Woods and along Silver Lake to Long Island Sound.

Since then, however, there has been more debate than action, except for some cleanup efforts in parts of Moore’s Woods and along Silver Lake. Most of the land that would comprise the trail belongs to Greenport, and Village Board members have several times complained about what they perceived as efforts by Suffolk County and the Group for the East End to usurp the project.

On Monday night, both Mr. Osinski and Ms. Phillips called for a public hearing to determine how village residents feel about the proposal.

“We should have a public hearing to see how many people want it or don’t,” Mr. Osinski said. “It’s a part of our history that we’re just letting lie fallow,” he said of the Silver Lake area.


Board members want a vote on several other resolutions Monday night.

Ms. Phillips is asking the board to review and revise the ethics code, which she said needs updating.

She also wants agreement from her fellow board members to hold quarterly meetings to track progress on the wastewater treatment plant project and is asking for a review of the overall cost of developing the village’s website, which she said still isn’t up to snuff.

Mr. Osinski, who successfully fought to keep his own geese before he became a trustee, wants to give other fowl-lovers a chance to raise chickens in Greenport. Not only do chickens provide eggs for nourishment, he said, but they eat ticks. He’s asking for a resolution that would allow village residents to keep chickens on their property, noting that some people already do so illegally and don’t generally face code violations.

Mayor David Nyce is asking for creation of a code committee and could ask for a resolution prohibiting basement apartments in the village.

Mr. Abatelli is calling for a decision on whether to continue to limit B&Bs in Greenport to renting only three rooms when state code allows for as many as five.

He also wants the board to consider developing a way people who are cited for village code violations can plead guilty and pay fines at Village Hall instead of having to appear in Southold Justice Court.


Trustee Chris Kempner is leading the effort to secure a Community Development Block Grant that could be used to bring village homes up to code. If the money is forthcoming, applicants would qualify based on the projects they propose and their inability to pay for the work themselves. Rehabilitating such housing could help to keep the village more affordable for low-income residents so that it doesn’t become just a haven for second homeowners, Ms. Kempner said. That would rob the village of its diversity, she said. The grant application has been in progress for several weeks and must be submitted by Friday.


Michelle and Michael Bendik got the go-ahead to schedule the second annual skateboard festival at the Moore’s Lane skate park on July 17.

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